As Heartland step out today to make history for themselves and country in far away Lubumbashi, Congo Democratic Republic in the s
econd leg final match of the 2009 Orange CAF Champions League against host, TP Mazembe, coach Kelechi Emeteole, believes his team would turn the table in their favour.
â€œAfter, the first leg tie, we have spent time working and correcting the mistakes made in that match. So, we are ready to give it back to Mazembe in their place. The team have realised mistakes made against our opponents, so we are going into the game mindful of what is expected of us and what we must do,â€ he said.
â€œWe played them before, there is a better understanding about them, so our training had focused on correcting mistakes made in the first leg match. That means Mazembe will confront a different Heartland for the last leg. I bet you nothing will be left to chance but it will be battle for battle and we will contest every ball until itâ€™s over. We are going to Congo for the cup and nothing short of that.
â€œWe are all in high spirit and we relish the second leg to prove our mettle having spent time improving our quality of play and correcting our mistakes from the encounter in Owerri. We are all set for the final,â€ Emeteole, popularly called Caterpillar, enthused.
Kelechi who said the heavy downpour in Owerri during the first leg affected their play said he knows they are in a tight corner but â€œWe have been in the situation before and wriggled out. I agree that we have our backs to the wall but that is when you see the best of Heartland and that weâ€™ll surely show in Congo.â€
His opposite number, Diogo Garzitto said he would advise Heartland to wait for another time to lift the trophy because â€œThis one is ours at least this year.â€
While Garzitto will be banking on his two most potent strikers, Tresor Mputu Mabi and Kaluyitikua Dioko to rip open Heartlandâ€™s defence, Emeteole believes the pair of Uche Agba and Emeka Nwana are equally dangerous to defenders and goalkeepers and Mazembe could be wrecked by them.
Heartland won the first leg tie in Owerri 2-1 prompting mixed reactions from across the country. While many fans feel unhappy about the score line, a past player of the club in its heydays as Spartans and Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Nicholas Ukadike and other ex- internationals spoken to were of the view that a 2-1 score line was not bad at all.
â€œI could recall in the years Zamalek dominated Africa, they won by a low margin of 1-0 in Cairo and forced their opponents to scoreless draw on the return leg.
So, my advice for Heartland is that they should try to score first. If they do, it will throw Mazembe off balance. Again, they must play as a team because unity is strength as they say,â€Ukadike, who played as top striker for both the Owerri side when it began as Spartans before it transformed to Nationale and later on Abiola Babes FC of Abeokuta, stated.